"Liberia Is An Unfulfilled Dream" - Says Tiawan Gongloe

By Nat Galarea Gbessagee

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 29, 2002

Visiting Liberian Human Rights Lawyer Taiwon Gongloe told a gathering of Liberians and friends of Liberia in Baltimore last Saturday that Liberia has swayed from so far from its original goal as a "project for freedom" that it has become nothing more than an "unfulfilled dream".

In impromptus remarks at the installation program of the new national leadership of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) at a local hotel in Baltimore, Gongloe said Liberia presently "lies in ruins", and burdened by "lawlessness" to the extent that the security forces that should be the protectors of civil liberties and human rights have become the key instruments for abusing these rights, while "the present government behaves as a monarchy."

"Liberia is the only village in Africa today. Liberia can’t boast of even a 200-mile paved road... Liberia is in a terrible situation", Gongloe said forcefully to the cheerings of the audience.

Gongloe narrated his experiences as a human rights lawyer in Liberia, especially his ordeal with the government earlier this year in which he was jailed and severely flogged for a speech he delivered before a Human Rights Conference in neighboring Guinea that the government found to be distasteful.

In spite of his ordeal and the gloomy picture he had painted about human rights and civil liberties in Liberia, Gongloe nonetheless appealed to Liberians in the audience and other Liberians in exile to return home and contribute to the development of Liberia. His call generated huge murmurings amongst members of the audience.

But Gongloe maintained that Liberians ought to return home because "the only place we can make real change is in Liberia. Make the sacrifice", he said.

Gongloe who arrived in the U.S. about a month or two ago for medical treatment for his prison ordeal, has been spreading the message regarding the status of human rights and human development in Liberia generally, at various Liberian gatherings across the U.S. He is scheduled to speak at a youth empowerment program in Philadelphia this weekend.

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